Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is officially retiring from football three years after he suffered a spinal contusion while making a tackle during a game, the two-time Pro Bowler announced in a video posted to social media Wednesday.
“It has been over a 1,000 days since I got hurt on the field. To lose the game in a way I never envisioned has not been easy. When you play the game of football the way I did, you convince yourself you’re Superman — that nothing can hurt you. But then the moment I got hurt, I stopped being Superman and that was difficult to make sense,” said Shazier.
“But the way I look at it, God put us all here for a purpose. For 20 years, he let me play football and now it’s time for me to do what he wants to do. I’m going to step away from the game for a while and see what else life has to offer.”
Thank You … pic.twitter.com/JS3diYi2ar
— Ryan Shazier (@RyanShazier) September 9, 2020
Shazier had previously refused to give up on playing again.
The 28-year-old was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2014 draft (15th overall), racking up 299 tackles, seven sacks and seven interceptions over the course of his four-year career.
He has not played since a matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13 of the 2017 season when he attempted a head-first tackle and after the play, reached for his back and could not move his legs.
He underwent spinal stabilization surgery several days after his injury.
Shazier has made remarkable progress, despite doubts if he would ever walk again, including being able to dance at his wedding last year.